Friday, July 22, 2011

How I really feel about Google+ (30 days in)

Google+ is not facebook. That is the most important thing anyone needs to know about it. In many ways, Google+ has features that resemble (some would say "mimic") facebook, and why not? Facebook has become famous for its intuitive and easy-to-follow interface. Nobody is going to launch a social media platform that is more difficult to follow.

However, the two platforms are quite different. I'm going to try to break it down, and I'm going to do it with liberal metaphors (because that's how I roll).

Facebook is famous for making relationships mutual. Twitter is famous for removing the mutual element of relationships by making the decision to "follow" someone exclusive to the follower. The relationship is the difference between asking someone for their phone number (facebook) and subscribing to the newspaper (twitter). What Google+ has done is like straddling the middle ground: You can now "follow" someone and see their facebook-style updates, video posts, blogs, etc. Google+ gives that same someone the opportunity to block you from their facebook-style content, but more on that some other time.

In that way, Google+ is ideal for professional groups, like LinkedIn. In a matter of hours, I'd amassed a Google+ Circle of nearly 100 writers, and I'm adding more daily. That doesn't really happen on facebook, at least, not as fast or as intuitively. It's simple to build a huge network on Google+ because all you really have to do is hover your mouse over someone's name and presto, you're given the opportunity to add them to one of your circles so you can see their updates going forward.

Also, you can control your update feed using those same Circles. Sometimes I just want to see what my friends are up to; just like in facebook, I can choose to see those updates only. If I want to see what the publishing/writing world is up to, I go to that stream.

So where does Google+ fit in with my life?

I never really grasped the point of twitter. I don't like condensing my thoughts down to a character count, because, as a writer, I'm verbose by nature. I know that concise discourse is a good thing, but for the most part, when I'm trying to tell a story about an event, or set up a joke, I run out of room on twitter. Besides, I don't get the immediate graphic payload from it that I get from facebook; when I want to see someone's photo on twitter, I have to click a link. Not so with facebook. I'm just lazy, I suppose.

Google+ is my new twitter. It's an easy-access, higher-graphic-satisfaction version of that platform, and I'm going to use it to network like mad. For personal things, until my friends and family find their way to Google+, I'll be on facebook . . .but I would definitely like to eventually abandon facebook altogether. Maintaining multiple social identities is exhausting.


  1. Very good points. I, too, am going to stay on FB for the sake of my family being there, as well as friends of mine who probably wouldn't make the shift over to Google+. It's the same reason why I haven't abandoned my Myspace account after all this time.

  2. Nice!

    I too will be hanging onto FB for a little bit.

    For me G+ was the icing on my Google products cake. Google Music, Chrome, Calendar, Docs, Maps are ALL linked to my Gmail account...and able to be accessed anywhere that I have an internet connection. The easy to use G+ Droid app makes staying in touch with my friends that much easier. I always found the FB app clunky and lacking. But I'm rambling...